Quick thoughts on Don Cherry’s NBC debut

05Jun07

Don Cherry’s much ballyhooed debut was tonight. Now, I’ve got Center Ice, so seeing him for me isn’t that much of a novelty even though I’m American. In fact, normally I can’t stand him on Hockey Night In Canada (Satellite Hotstove’s much more entertaining in my opinion), but having him on with Brett Hull certainly made for a much more interesting dynamic. Instead of one ranting and raving lunatic with a quiet straight man (Ron MacLean), we had Bill Clement watching idly by as Cherry and Hull took turns ranting and raving — and sometimes while the other person was talking — and giving each other the occasional potshot.

You know what? I know it’s just a little thing, but I stay tuned the whole time Cherry and Hull were on there — unlike when I watch Hockey Night In Canada. The big difference to me was the fact that rather than give Cherry a straight man, you had someone who was equally as opinionated and outspoken in Hull that only agreed with about half of the stuff Cherry had to say. As any writer or storyteller can tell you, conflict breeds entertainment, and just by having two animated guys willing to speak their mind — in agreement or disagreement — made it a bazillion times more entertaining than Keith Jones and Brian Engblom rambling through Generic Hockey Analysis 101.

Is the Don Cherry experiment a success? I have no idea what NBC execs thought about his lecture on fighting and TV ratings, and I certainly only agreed with about 25% of what Cherry said, but watching him and Hull bounce off each other made it pretty entertaining. I think the act would wear thin every week, but it’d certainly be a nice treat to have every now and then (and HNIC viewers should get the same thing by having Hull on Coach’s Corner every now and then).

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